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Last Hope

February 12, 2008 | 10:55 am

 

1958_0208_schulz

Because adult characters never appear in "Peanuts," many comics readers may wonder what Charles Schulz's grownups looked like. Here's a sample from a short-lived cartoon strip carried in the Mirror.

 

Feb. 8, 1958
Los Angeles

1958_0208_shoot James Charles Hope, 25, had been out of prison for a little more than a year when he walked into the combination market and liquor store at 9911 S. Hoover St. just before closing time and drew a .32 semiautomatic. 

The last thing he ever did was to hand a paper bag to the manager, Joe Paladino, and tell him to "fill it up."

What Hope didn't know was that two officers were waiting for him in the back room. Someone had tipped off police that there would be a robbery. Officer A.S. Armas stepped from the back and killed Hope with a shotgun blast to the face and neck, The Times said.

Hope's partner, another ex-convict named Edsel F. Broyles, was arrested when he looked in the window. He was "badly shaken by what he saw" but refused to talk to police, the Mirror said.

And that was it as far as The Times was concerned. Broyles was charged with suspicion of robbery, but if there was a trial, nothing was written about it.

The Times has more to say about an Officer Abel Armas (sometimes referring to him as Abel F. Armas, other times Abel S. Armas) who joined the department about 1953.  It's unclear if this is the officer who was involved in the shooting--perhaps yes, perhaps not.

1958_0208_hope_3 However, in 1967, The Times reported that Sgt. Abel F. Armas was justified in shooting a 17-year-old arson suspect in Ramona Gardens. Sgt. Armas was also a member of La Ley, the Latin American Law Enforcement Assn., which was trying to recruit Latinos for law enforcement.

By 1973, The Times was reporting on Lt. Abel Armas, the LAPD liaison with the City Council, over conflicting orders on preventing council members from leaving a meeting if their absence would prevent the lawmakers from having a quorum. Council President John S. Gibson ordered police officers "not to take hold" of councilmen who were trying to leave, but make it clear that "they should not voluntarily let them pass either until they are excused," The Times said.

The next year, Armas was transferred to the 77th Street Division and demoted from Lieutenant 2 to Lieutenant 1 after entering the recall race against Councilman Arthur K. Snyder. Later that year, Armas drew a five-day suspension for insubordination for going to a City Council hearing despite orders that he not attend.

In 1975, Armas unsuccessfully ran against Snyder in the District 14 City Council race. And by 1980, Armas had been moved to the Rampart Division. By 1982, Armas had attained the rank of captain and after retiring, he was appointed to the Youthful Offender Parole Board in 1985.

Were there any more liquor store holdups after Hope was killed in a stakeout? Recall that a liquor store clerk had been fatally wounded during a robbery in December 1957, which might be the reason the LAPD set up such traps. According to The Times' stories of 1958, liquor store clerks were likely to be armed and they shot to kill. In one of the more bizarre cases, an LAPD officer confessed to robbing a liquor store shortly before Christmas because he owed nearly $2,000 in medicals bills for his wife and 2-month-old baby.

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